Purpose: The purpose of this study is to demonstrate and evaluate the effective application of a computerized workflow management system (WMS) into sonography workflow in order to reduce patient exam waiting time, number of waiting patients, sonographer stress level, and to improve patient satisfaction. Methods: A computerized WMS was built with seamless integration of an automated patient sorting algorithm, a real-time monitoring system, exam schedules fine-tuning, a tele-imaging support system, and a digital signage broadcasting system of patient education programs. The computerized WMS was designed to facilitate problem-solving through continuous customization and flexible adjustment capability. Its effects on operations, staff stress, and patient satisfaction were studied. Results: After implementation of the computerized WMS, there is a significant decrease in patient exam waiting time and sonographer stress level, significant increase in patient satisfaction regarding exam waiting time and the number of examined patients, and marked decrease in the number of waiting patients at different time points in a day. Conclusion: Through multidisciplinary teamwork, the computerized WMS provides a simple and effective approach that can overcome jammed exams associated problems, increase patient satisfaction level, and decrease staff workload stress under limited resources, eventually creating a win–win situation for both the patients and radiology personnel.
International Journal of Medical Informatics 82(3),168-176